Questions to Ask When Choosing an Orthopedic Surgeon
Choosing an orthopedic surgeon is one of the most important decisions you’ll make as you explore treatment and surgical options for your joint problems.
- Questions to Ask Yourself
- Questions to Ask Your Orthopedic Surgeon
- Other Considerations
- Related Information
- What are my goals in pursuing this surgery or procedure? Do I want relief from pain in everyday activities, or the ability to perform vigorous sports activities or return to a strenuous job?
- What does my health plan cover? Are there any restrictions in my choice of physician or facility where surgery is performed?
- Are there specific techniques or type of procedures I want to know more about?
- How close to home do I want to be, for both surgery and the rehabilitation period after surgery?
- Am I interested in participating in clinical trials or new approaches?
- Do I like and trust this doctor? Do I feel good about this doctor’s expertise? Do we communicate well?
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- Do you perform _____ procedure or technique? Why or why not?
- What procedures do you recommend for my case? Why? Why not others?
- How many times have you performed this procedure in the past year?
- What is your complication rate?
- How do you follow a patient post surgery?
- What will my follow-up care look like?
- Tell me about your medical team – nurses, physical therapists, and others who can help guide me pre and post surgery.
Although all orthopedic surgeons are qualified to perform a wide range of procedures, different doctors will have specific areas of expertise, special training, and unique practice philosophies. Some may practice new approaches you’ve heard about in the news; others, may stick with traditional time-proven procedures. Both will have reasons for why they practice as they do.
Doctors in larger cities may have performed many more procedures, or have the equipment and medical teams to perform the specialized procedures. However, traveling for surgery may or may not be an option for you, especially since joint replacement surgeries requires a long recovery period.
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